Subtle design tweaks that drastically transform a workspace

by Matt Lee

Stark white walls, dim flickering fluorescent lights, a windowless room full of boring, gray cubicles. This is the reality for many people who go to work in an office on a daily basis, and it certainly isn’t inspiring. These lifeless offices would make anyone dread coming to work for an eight-hour shift five days a week. And if an employee doesn’t feel inspired by their surroundings, work may take even longer to get done. Luckily, however, even some small changes within an office can drastically change its atmosphere.

Looking to bring some life into your office? Here are some subtle design changes that can make a drastic difference.

1. Custom wall murals

Nobody likes to be surrounded by empty walls, especially if there are few or no windows. That’s what makes art such an important factor in office design. Something as simple as custom wall murals from photos can have a massive impact on the look and feel of your office space. Being welcomed by beautiful, custom artwork can make coming to work everyday feel like less like an eight-hour prison sentence.

LinkedIn’s entrance lobby, for example, looks more like an art museum than the entrance to a major corporation, while technology firm Splunk went with graffiti-like art to match their brand image. To make your office space special, turn to your employees for design help and create some custom wall murals from photos that they have taken.

A study by Exeter University’s School of Psychology found employees who have control over the office design were happier, healthier, and 32% more productive. Custom wall murals from photos are an easy way to bring more life into your office without having to do a complete design overhaul.

2. Acoustic bamboo panels

One of the major problems offices are faced with is poor acoustics. Everything from hearing colleagues talking, phones ringing and the office ventilation system running are are scenarios that result in a lot of stressful, unpleasant noise. While they may not seem like a big deal, these distractions can put workers off. Just five distractions like this in a single eight-hour day can mean a 15% loss of productivity.

An easy way to remedy this problem is by installing beautiful, high-quality acoustic surface treatments around the office. Acoustic surface treatments can include wall tiles that line office walls and panels that help separate workers’ cubicles.

Acoustic surface treatments are like a bit like works of art on their own. Not only will installing them create a more stress-free environment, but these treatments will give the office a more unique and welcoming look.

3. Reclaimed wood wall panels

Just because an office is a professional setting, this doesn’t mean that you can’t play with the design a little. Adding texture to any space can create a sense of visual weight, which helps draw attention to a specific area or to the overall space. Even a simple, textured accent wall can have a great impact on the feel of a space and make an office feel less stiff and boring.

Reclaimed wood wall panels are a great way to easily bring texture into the office without having to make massive, expensive changes. These reclaimed wood wall panels offer a rustic look that can bring warmth into an office, which could otherwise feel cold and sterile.

Making design changes to your office space is a great way to improve the space and create a more welcoming environment. No matter how subtle they may seem, they can truly have a massive impact on your employees’ happiness, productivity, and the overall feel of your workplace.

Image credit: Photo courtesy of David Bartus.